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Tuesday, December 7 at 4 p.m. - Create & Chill with UP Public Library.

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Tuesday, December 7, 2021 - City Council Meeting

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Former state Representative selected UP's 2021 Citizen of the Year

June 30, 2021
Daniel H. Branch, former member of the Texas House of Representatives, current member of City of University Park’s Legislative Committee and leading Dallas attorney, has been selected as the City of University Park’s 2021 Citizen of the Year.

During his six terms in the Texas House from 2003 to 2015, Dan spearheaded and successfully advocated for multiple pieces of legislation that benefitted the residents of University Park and the State. He served on the powerful Legislative Budget Board and a number of key House committees, including the Appropriations and Public Education Committees. In addition, Dan chaired the House Higher Education Committee for six years.

Among his many legislative accomplishments, he authored the Minute of Silence and Pledge of Allegiance Law, allowing a time of silent prayer to return to our public schools, and the landmark 2009 House Bill 51 Tier One Universities Law. He also authored the bill reforming the Texas’ Top Ten Percent College Admissions Law, which has helped thousands of high achieving students get into top Texas public universities. In addition, he authored legislation naming the Margaret Hunt Hill and the Margaret McDermott Bridges and a portion of Central Expressway as the George W. Bush Expressway. His legislative work ensured UT Dallas and UT Southwestern received hundreds of millions of dollars of research and other funding. Dan also worked successfully to rein in Robin Hood school finance laws and reduce property taxes for University Park residents. Texas Monthly magazine recognized Dan among its Top Ten Legislators in 2009 and 2011.

After serving in the legislature, Dan began his first term on the University Park Legislative Committee. Six years later, he is still a member of the committee. He enjoys working closely with the City Manager and the Mayor, and notes this kind of involvement is his way of giving back to a community that he cares for deeply.

The small-town nature of University Park is one of the attributes Dan enjoys most about the community. He described our city as an “oasis” that brings calm and peace whenever he returns home, whether he is returning from Austin or just making the short trip from his offices in downtown Dallas. “It’s a very comfortable life as a resident of University Park,” Dan said. “I feel quite fortunate to live here.”

Dan was surprised when Mayor Stewart called him with the news of his selection as Citizen of the Year. He had recently seen the Mayor, who mentioned that he had something to discuss with him. “I thought it had something to do with a legislative item or an issue in Austin,” Dan said. “This honor was not something I was expecting!”

Dan first arrived in University Park in 1980 to attend SMU School of Law. Following law school, Dan served as a judicial clerk to the Chief Justice of the Texas Supreme Court. Formerly an attorney with Gibson Dunn & Crutcher and later BakerBotts, he went on to found Langley & Branch, which later merged with the firm of Winstead PC, where he is a shareholder. With interludes in New York City, Washington D.C. and Austin, Dan has lived in University Park since graduating law school. Dan and his wife Stacey have five grown children, who all attended HPISD schools. They are proud grandparents of four grandchildren.

The Mayor presented Dan with a plaque and a special Citizen of the Year gift, and Dan will ride in the Independence Day Parade on Saturday, July 3. The Citizen of the Year award was created by the City Council in 2005 to boost public awareness and appreciation for the many residents who work, often behind the scenes, to better the City’s quality of life.